Mount Montserrat loop questions

Queensland specific bushwalking discussion.
Forum rules
Queensland specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby miles » Thu 11 Aug, 2022 5:07 pm

afternoon everybody

I'm starting to plan a group hike/walk over the top of Montserrat look out next June/July and I would like anyone's advice/opinion on my chosen route. in June this year I did a shorter loop starting from half way up the 4wd track on waterfall road, reached the top of the lookout at about noon then went down the hill to where the two rivers meet for lunch before heading back so I know this portion of the track.

My proposed loop is staying the first night at cleared ridge camp ground, then talking our time to get to the lookout on Montserrat and staying the second night at the campground up there. the second leg of the journey would be walking down to the river crossing before heading down to upper portals and hopefully staying the night there, if possible following the creek to the lower portals and hopefully staying the night there before heading back to cleared ridge and then back to Brisbane.

My questions are is it possible to follow the creek down to the upper and lower portals?

My second question might be harder to answer but is there a track/footpad that leads from the lower portals up to the cleared ridge or at least down to the base of waterfall creek?

And finally does this loop sound unreasonable to anyone who has been to the upper and lower portals?

Thanks.
miles
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed 10 Aug, 2022 9:52 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby gbagua » Fri 12 Aug, 2022 12:57 pm

1. Yes you can as long as the water level is not too high as in that case due to one particular spot where it becomes a sort of a narrow gorge with the result of the water flowing rapidly. Even now with a lower water level the temperature would be too low unless you wear a wetsuit. After the narrowing there is a large pool you need to swim for about 30m or so. 3-4m deep in the middle. I personally wouldn't swim in it in winter.

2. To bypass this section there is a footpad that rises sharply on the left (facing down towards the LP) for about 20 m, reaches the top of the promontory and then heads down to the main creek. No swimming involved at all. The following pool can be bypassed by doing a traverse on the slabs (right side of the creek). Maybe at the end you'll need to jump in but the water will be at your waist level. It will be cold regardless. A further 10 m of wading in the water. Later on downstream water is everywhere and few spots where you can avoid it completely so it's going to be a wet day. I would personally only do this trip in a dry year.
User avatar
gbagua
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Sat 20 Oct, 2012 9:04 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby CBee » Fri 12 Aug, 2022 3:13 pm

I was in the area a month ago or more and we struggled to stay dry and rock hopping. Just a bigger than normal flow. But by now we had little rain so should be better. I know there is a pad from cleared ridge to barney junction campground. On the creek, I remember only one spot where we had to traverse a sketchy section and haul bags. The rest is fairly easy but from junction to UP there are sections where you are forced to bush-bash through weeds and fallen trees, unless you want to swim. But overall, my opinion is that the whole terrain is fairly easy to negotiate and there are not issues with navigation. So a multiday hike is more than doable for everybody.
CBee
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri 21 Dec, 2018 7:18 am
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Aardvark » Fri 12 Aug, 2022 8:06 pm

I cannot count the number of traverses i have made of that area in the last 40 years. Many variations. It is more challenging to walk the creek between upper and lower portals than it is to walk the pads on the northern side of Barney Creek. The creek route is a great day out and unless the water level is high it is possible to walk it dry.
It does present a little more difficult with through walking packs. There is some scrambling and bush bashing. If you're not familiar with the route, you will take significantly more time. There will be some second guessing along the way with which side of the creek to take.
If i were taking a group who were unfamiliar with the route and not particularly gungho, then i would consider taking a pad ENE from hill 755 on the ridge above Upper Portals (that is the extension of the ridge that has Cleared Ridge carpark). It can be accessed from the Upper Portals. Better to head upstream of the portals closer to the junction with Yamahra Ck, on the northern side. Climb steeply ENE for about a 200m altitude gain.
You could later consider following the creek downstream from the campsite area where Barney Gorge enters Barney Ck. This lower half of Barney Ck to the Lower Portals is easier than the upstream portion. The campsite is a series of ledges on the northern side of Barney Ck and is gained via a pad from a saddle SUNMAP 9441-31 Mt.Lindesay grid ref 687749.
Ever on the search for a one ended stick.
Aardvark
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat 28 Jul, 2012 6:15 am
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Aardvark » Fri 12 Aug, 2022 8:41 pm

You mention a campground on or near Monserrat lookout. Good luck with that. I would never call that a campground. You might however manage to eke out enough space for a couple of small tents. I would only ever have considered it a place to bivvy on a groundsheet or in a bivvy bag or hammock. The bush and the rocks don't provide for much. Camping there probably goes against the principle of Leave No Trace. You would likely destroy vegetation etc to stay there.
It would be a practical option to consider depositing your o'night packs by Barney Ck. Take lunch and water for a quick visit to the lookout. You could then camp closer to the creek and have plenty of water. It is not unrealistic to still fit in the ascent to hill 755 above the Upper Portals, after visiting Monserrat L/O. Camping on the ridge is open and relatively clean. You would however need to carry your water up there.
Getting back to the pad from Hill 755. After the descent for a kilometre or so to the abovementioned grid reference, there is a pad branching downhill ESE swinging ever southward to the campgrounds near Barney Ck and Barney Gorge. A short way down this is another pad branching leftward (east) on the northern side of a small creek. It seems to contour ever eastward to eventually follow a ridge down to a small saddle behind a hilltop that overlooks the Lower Portals. This saddle has to gained by any parties continuing upstream of the Portals. A route goes down both sides of the saddle . On the south to Barney Ck and upstream of the portals. On the north to Barney Ck and downstream of the Portals.
There is another shortcut between the campground on Barney Ck near the gorge outlet and the lower Portals but it can be tricky to find from the campground end.
Perhaps another time.
Ever on the search for a one ended stick.
Aardvark
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat 28 Jul, 2012 6:15 am
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Aardvark » Fri 12 Aug, 2022 8:51 pm

It's not like i would suggest anyone would find it an easy daywalk to make a loop out of the pads between Cleared ridge and Lower Portals and the creek route itself. I have however done that quite a few times.
Ever on the search for a one ended stick.
Aardvark
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat 28 Jul, 2012 6:15 am
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby CBee » Fri 12 Aug, 2022 9:06 pm

But you are an extraordinary bushwalker. The loop in a day, IMO is a hard walk, but not harder than some routes on Barney. Easier if done as a multiday, even if you have to rock-hop with a big pack. Then water is not an issue... and Miles wants to do it as a multiday.
CBee
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri 21 Dec, 2018 7:18 am
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby miles » Fri 12 Aug, 2022 10:18 pm

thanks for the help everyone.

regarding the campsite at the L/O, i had no idea it was so small as i was taken up there by someone with years of experience on that trail and he just made a comment about it.

i think instead i will just do a shorter single day loop from cleared ridge over the lookout and down to the creeks for lunch again because one person in my group does not have a lot of experience with challenging terrain like the other members and will have trouble without a clear footpad.

thanks for everyones advice and even if i dont do the original loop planned im definitely going back there in the near future.
miles
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed 10 Aug, 2022 9:52 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Aardvark » Sat 13 Aug, 2022 7:27 am

CBee wrote:But you are an extraordinary bushwalker. The loop in a day, IMO is a hard walk, but not harder than some routes on Barney. Easier if done as a multiday, even if you have to rock-hop with a big pack. Then water is not an issue... and Miles wants to do it as a multiday.


I only mean to suggest, perhaps in an abstract way that the distances and time needed aren't so hard that you couldn't do them within a couple of days as Miles suggested. The pads on the north side of the creek are relatively easier than the creek route itself.
It is possible they might be underused in recent times and a little overgrown. They were always very distinct and well used in the past. Cattle had access for a long time.
Ever on the search for a one ended stick.
Aardvark
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat 28 Jul, 2012 6:15 am
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby CBee » Sat 13 Aug, 2022 11:12 am

The pad past the junction, if coming from LP is faint and overgrown in parts but easy to follow. But definitely the creek route is harder but more spectacular.
CBee
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri 21 Dec, 2018 7:18 am
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Champion_Munch » Sun 14 Aug, 2022 9:30 pm

gbagua wrote:1. Yes you can as long as the water level is not too high as in that case due to one particular spot where it becomes a sort of a narrow gorge with the result of the water flowing rapidly. Even now with a lower water level the temperature would be too low unless you wear a wetsuit. After the narrowing there is a large pool you need to swim for about 30m or so. 3-4m deep in the middle. I personally wouldn't swim in it in winter.

2. To bypass this section there is a footpad that rises sharply on the left (facing down towards the LP) for about 20 m, reaches the top of the promontory and then heads down to the main creek. No swimming involved at all. The following pool can be bypassed by doing a traverse on the slabs (right side of the creek). Maybe at the end you'll need to jump in but the water will be at your waist level. It will be cold regardless. A further 10 m of wading in the water. Later on downstream water is everywhere and few spots where you can avoid it completely so it's going to be a wet day. I would personally only do this trip in a dry year.


A few years ago I did the loop from LP to UP via creek and return via cleared ridge/bush north of Barney Creek. However, the route I took from the creek (immediately prior to where the cliffs start just east of the pool downstream of the UPs) north to one of the knolls above the UP was extremely loose/sketchy and not something I would consider doing again or recommend. I have heard there is a bypass footpad in the area but I did not see it on that occasion. From your description above I take it there is a reasonable bypass that does not rise very high above the UP before descending? The sketchy route I took met the cleared ridge track at around 670 m, where the ridge flattens out briefly before you get great views at the 760 m knoll further on.
Champion_Munch
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed 30 Apr, 2014 9:49 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby gbagua » Mon 15 Aug, 2022 9:35 am

Champion_Munch wrote: From your description above I take it there is a reasonable bypass that does not rise very high above the UP before descending? The sketchy route I took met the cleared ridge track at around 670 m, where the ridge flattens out briefly before you get great views at the 760 m knoll further on.


Yes it starts right before the creek becomes a gorge. There is a large pool. It's opposite the pool on the left bank. Some people managed to build several stone steps on the descent past the big knoll.

It climbs for about 20-30 m tops and then quickly drops down the creek after the fist big pool of the UP gorge section.
User avatar
gbagua
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Sat 20 Oct, 2012 9:04 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Champion_Munch » Tue 16 Aug, 2022 11:09 am

gbagua wrote:Yes it starts right before the creek becomes a gorge. There is a large pool. It's opposite the pool on the left bank. Some people managed to build several stone steps on the descent past the big knoll.

It climbs for about 20-30 m tops and then quickly drops down the creek after the fist big pool of the UP gorge section.


On the left bank, looking upstream? (i.e. south of Barney Creek)? Sounds like I took a completely different route, which climbs around 150 m instead of 20-30 m. This was on the right bank looking upstream (north of Barney Creek).
Champion_Munch
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed 30 Apr, 2014 9:49 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby gbagua » Tue 16 Aug, 2022 7:38 pm

Left bank looking downstream. You can't miss it once you start going up. Crystal clear footpad.

Did a web search and found a photo of what is exactly bypassed by the track.

https://weareexplorers.co/double-troubl ... rtals-qld/


Last pic. The track ends where the lady is located but at the end of the slab she is standing on. Right of the photo (not visible).
User avatar
gbagua
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Sat 20 Oct, 2012 9:04 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Champion_Munch » Tue 16 Aug, 2022 7:49 pm

Thanks gbagua. There is a line of cliffs preceding this section (to the east), I tried to ascend before those cliffs. Looks like I just needed to be closer to the portals. From what I recall, there is a large pool of water that runs along the northern bank - requiring a swim to reach the bypass track?
Champion_Munch
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed 30 Apr, 2014 9:49 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby gbagua » Wed 17 Aug, 2022 9:49 am

I have no idea how you approached the start of the gorge section but when coming from Ballow creek/Yamahra/etc. one needs to stay on the eastern side of the bank which has also a well worn track. Then it ends in the creek right at the foot of the small pool I referred to, then jump across the opposite bank and follow the footpad.
User avatar
gbagua
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Sat 20 Oct, 2012 9:04 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby CBee » Wed 17 Aug, 2022 12:07 pm

It doesn't matter how you bypass the gorge. Either the small bypass or climb all the way to the top of the ridge. At the junction of Yahmara ck and Barney Ck, there is a small flat area and there is a clear pad going up for 200m or so to the top. You can use this to bypass the gorge or more simply, find the way (quicker) that gbagua explained above. In summertime swimming across the pools is actually quite pleasant if not mandatory.
CBee
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri 21 Dec, 2018 7:18 am
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby Champion_Munch » Wed 17 Aug, 2022 12:51 pm

Thanks for the responses. My experience was coming upstream from the LP, although I have also visited the upper portals from cleared ridge on a separate occasion. I don't mind going for a swim while there (agree mandatory when warm) but wondered whether the short-cut gbagua mentions avoids the need to swim with gear/pack. Sounds like I will just need to do a bit of exploring next time I am in the area.
Champion_Munch
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed 30 Apr, 2014 9:49 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Mount Montserrat loop questions

Postby gbagua » Mon 22 Aug, 2022 1:40 pm

The mandatory summer swim is a joy to the soul especially when coming all the way from Mt May, Maroon or a LP-Montserrat-UP-LP loop.

Yes it bypasses the large pool swim as discussed already plus the link I posted with the lady standing at the end of the pool on the last pic is very clear.
User avatar
gbagua
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Sat 20 Oct, 2012 9:04 pm
Region: Queensland


Return to Queensland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron